_____ IIV International Institute for Vietnam__________
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Welcoming the Congressional Caucus
For Freedom of the Press
Today, May 03, 2006, World Press Freedom Day, human rights and press freedom advocates in Washington DC area are gathering in the Capitol to witness the launch of the Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press. We are pleased to know that the US Congress has decided to set up this important forum to promote and defend freedom of the press. We commend Caucus Co-Chairs, Rep. Adam Schiff (D, CA) and Rep. Mike Pence (R, IN), and bipartisan Members of the House and Senate in forming the Caucus. We are also pleased to know that beginning from today the Congress will work closely with American and international press freedom activists, and independent journalist to assess the state of press freedom worldwide and to combat the censorship of information and persecution of journalists around the globe. Together with the already existing Congressional Human Rights, with this new Caucus for Freedom of the Press that is bi-partisan and includes both members of the House and the Senate, the US Congress has joined the worldwide movement for human rights and for freedom of information and expression.
I believe that the launch of the Congressional Caucus on freedom of the press on World Press Freedom Day sends a clear and strong message to press freedom predators around the globe, particularly in East Asian countries like Burma, North Korea, China and Vietnam. Being a victim of press oppression myself, I share with Co-Chairs and Members of the Caucus the importance and necessity of strong and persistent support and defense of oppressed and jailed journalists from American and international community and politicians.
I also believe that the launch of the Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press also sends a clear message to remaining dictators around the globe that human rights and democracy must be recognized and defended as basic factors for peace, stability and sustainable development of any nation around the world in the new millennium. It will certainly encourage human rights ad free press defenders and activists around the globe and in Vietnam particularly. All Vietnamese human rights and free press advocates, overseas and inside Vietnam, will welcome this new development. In despite of harsh oppression, a new movement for free press and freedom of assembly and association has emerged and widespread during the last few months inside Vietnam, with hundreds of activists expressing openly and publicly their demands for freedom and democracy. In such an environment of an open dissenting and struggle for information, cultural and political freedom, the human rights defenders inside Vietnam will certainly find in this new congressional Caucus not only as a signal of more US Congressional support for their efforts, but also as a positive step forward to freedom and democracy in Vietnam.
I therefore heartfully welcome this significant event and wish all the best for the Caucus works and pledge to co-operate with its Co-Chairs and Members in any way I can for the common cause of human rights and freedom of the press for Vietnam and for all other countries around the world.
May 03, 2006
Doan Viet Hoat, Ph.D.
Former Prisoner of Conscience
Former Editor of Freedom Forum (Diễn Đān Tự Do underground monthly)
International Institute for Vietnam